Monday, 8 February 2010

Burying an apology

Remember last Wednesday's fictitious Express story about an EU ruling banning milk jugs?

They took some research from Spanish academics about milk served in restaurants and cafes in Spain and turned it into another 'EU meddlers' myth.

The fact the Express quickly re-wrote the story - without the EU references - proved they knew it was rubbish. But that did not stop them printing a letter from an outraged reader the following day - outraged about a story the paper knew wasn't true.

Today they've apologised for it:

'Milk jugs ban' - an apology

Further to our article 'Now the EU spouts off...about our milk jugs' on February 3, we have been asked to point out that there is no proposed EU ban on milk jugs or any other milk containers.

The tests referred to in our articles were carried out by the University of Valencia, not at the behest of any agency of the EU.

The European Commission entirely shares the advice of the UK’s Food Standards Agency, that milk jugs that are clean and stored appropriately before and after filling are totally in line with EU legislation.

Yes, the apology is in the headline, rather than the text, but at least it puts the record straight. And it has appeared within a week of the original which is unusually swift.

You can tell there's a 'but...' coming, right?

The original story was trailed on the front page:

The actual article appeared on page 3. There was a further opinion piece on page 12.

The Editor's Code policed by the PCC says:

A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion once recognised must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence.

So three mentions of the lie before page 12, including one on the front page.

But where did today's duly prominent apology appear?

Page 19.

The PCC has censured the Express for burying apologies before. Although it's a feeble 'punishment', surely it has to do so again?

1 comment:

  1. I've made a short video about this story, you can see it here:

    I'm hoping to make these videos semi-regularly, but they take a few days to make so I can't keep up with this blog!

    I've mentioned you in the description, I hope that's okay.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Comments are moderated - generally to filter out spam and comments wishing death on people - but other messages will be approved as quickly as possible.